Product Launch Success:
How Good Is Good Enough?

Product Launch Success

It's human nature. We believe that our product launch success is directly linked to how complete and perfect our product or service is. But what's perfect and in who's eyes? There are lots of factors to consider when deciding what defines a market ready product.

Before you start listing features and functions in your new product plan, take a long hard look at the market. The first step is to revisit your total addressable market (TAM) and identify the minimum viable market subset.

When you write a business case it's important to think about domination – of the market and your competition – because your product launch success depends on this mind-set. Let's be honest here, no matter how big your company is or the uniqueness of your solution, you can only do so much. Focus on establishing a beachhead, the initial success to lay the groundwork for achieving your objective.

The key is to establish the smallest segment of your TAM that you can dominate out of the gate. Be successful there, learn and tweak your plan, and then you'll be in great shape to catch the attention of the other market segments.

Is Your Product Market Ready?

You've defined your total addressable market and determined the minimum market segments you will have initial success in. Now it's time to decide on your minimum viable product or minimum feature set.

I know, your market research turned up a long list of characteristics that people said they wanted. Some said, "give me feature A" while others said "I need feature B". Thankfully your new product plan has a clear, long-term vision of where you're headed and what goals you're trying to achieve. Right?

The minimum viable product allows you to solve the core problem your customers have – and get it to market fast.

The segments of your desired TAM can be based on vertical industries, company size, geography, demographics, early adopters for your type of solution, or other ways that make sense. Just be sure that you can easily identify them and their needs as well as gain access to them through your channels.

Make no mistake about it, other segments that are part of your eventual TAM will yell and scream that they want it but it's missing something. And some of the initial narrow segments you've attacked will growl about this or that. Don't give in and start adding features, just prioritize these on your product road map.

Your product launch success chances will be massively multiplied.

7 Reasons Why Less Is More

There's one other point to consider - you never have 100% of the information you need. Some people think they have two basic choices: either research the market until they have every last detail needed to make a decision, no matter how long it takes, or just stuff every potential feature into their product. They believe that that these are the two possible paths to product launch success.

Either way will cause a delay in launching your product. By the time you did, your product would be too expensive and in any case, the market will have passed you. Army General Gordon R. Sullivan once said,

"We never have 100 percent certainty. We never have it. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield."

There are many benefits of an approach that has you asking how good is good enough. You may only have 40% or 50% of features for your eventual TAM. But the minimum viable market you do go after now will be glad you have 80% or more of what they need and the chance of product launch success will soar. Here are the advantages of designing your product to be market ready:

  • Allows you to focus your resources on the most requested features;
  • Reduces the complexity of the initial design;
  • Decreases prototype design time and gets a product to market more quickly - you can start selling sooner;
  • Tests both the product's capability and the market's demand faster;
  • Gives you data points fast on what's going well and what's not. If you have a road map to show as part of taking your initial product to market, customers will confirm (or trash) the features planned in the next version;
  • You are in a position to make needed change in the next release quickly using what you've learned;
  • All of the above reduces your costs in so many, many ways.

You don't always really know what the market wants and certainly can't accurately predict the future. The pilot-test or initial product may be buggy, but just remember, speed wins!

Learn faster, create faster, build faster, sell faster - a formula for product launch success

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At the heart of any new feature or product offering, is a total understanding of your customer's perspective - the problems you are trying to solve
Make sure your assumptions are based on rock-solid homework.

Build a Powerful Value Proposition Into Your Story
What's your value proposition? You may be surprised how hard it is to answer this. Hint: Product differentiation is just part of the picture.

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